Archive | Printer-Friendly | Send to a Friend | | Advertise February 2012

NOTE: This is a preview of the Mid-Session Report - for the full report, please visit the GTLA website.

Last week, the 2012 legislative session crossed the halfway mark of the 40-day session.  The always critical "Crossover Day," the day when bills have to have cleared at least one chamber of the Legislature to be eligible for further consideration, is scheduled for March 7. The last 10 legislative days after Crossover Day will take the rest of March to complete.

In all, we are keeping a close eye on more than 100 bills. While that number is lower than in years past, it remains a daunting task to which your entire Legislative Team and GTLA Legislative Committee are committed. You can view the bills we are tracking by visiting GTLA’s Capitol Impact program through the GTLA website. 


HB 397 - Open Records: This bill, authored by Rep. Jay Powell at the urging of Attorney General Sam Olens, makes comprehensive changes to the Open Records and Open Meetings Act.  The bill was introduced on Feb. 28, 2011 and assigned to House Judiciary.  Of primary interest to GTLA was a provision in the as-introduced version that would have precluded any litigant from using an Open Records Act (ORA) request for use in a pending case. GTLA crafted and obtained widespread support for an amendment that would delete this provision and require only that a litigant against a governmental agency submitting an ORA request to provide counsel for that governmental agency with a copy of the ORA request when it is submitted. The bill is scheduled for vote out of subcommittee on Feb. 24.

HB 658 – Estimation of Future Damages: Rep. Lindsey introduced this bill that will change the provisions relating to the process for determining the present value of certain future damages based upon either expert testimony or the traditional discount rate. This bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 9. GTLA is working with the sponsor and stakeholders to reach a compromise that will not harm the interests of plaintiffs.

HB 960 – Bad Faith Insurance litigation: This bill would provide certain procedures for claimants to follow when offering to settle tort claims covered by liability insurance policies. This bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee on Feb.15. GTLA is working aggressively with the sponsors and interest groups to strike a balance between the interests of plaintiffs entitled to timely settlement of their claims and concerns of insurance companies that they could be held to pay both a plaintiff and lienholders beyond their policy limits. This bill has not been scheduled for a hearing yet.

HB 971 – Workers’ Compensation: Rep. Bill Hembree introduced this bill as the annual "State Board of Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council package." Although the bill, as originally proposed, would have authorized the Board to implement medical treatment guidelines, would have clarified the law in the wake of an appellate decision dealing with ex parte communications with physicians and would have increased the maximum disability rates, the bill did not include treatment guidelines when it was introduced. This significant change in the bill lead to a series of further negotiations by the interested stakeholders and resulted in the other provisions mentioned above being deleted from the bill. The House Industrial Relations Committee passed the bill by committee substitute on Feb. 22 and now contains only a series of minor changes to the workers’ compensation laws. The bill now goes to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.


SB 348 – Personal service of a summons on a corporation: Senator Emanuel Jones introduced this bill amending the process of serving a summons on a corporation. It was favorably reported by the Senate Special Judiciary Committee on Feb. 1 but the committee’s substitute does not permit plaintiffs to serve corporate defendants at the location where the tort occurred. We are working with the sponsor to amend his legislation so as to address our concerns. If our amendments are added to the bill, we will support it. If not, we will oppose it.

SB 350 – Gun Bill: We are tracking this bill because it is rumored that the NRA wants to amend it to preclude property owners from prohibiting persons from bringing firearms onto their property and the provision will likely immunize all such property owners from the actions of someone using such a firearm on their property. GTLA will work to defeat any such inappropriate immunity provision.

Bill Clark
Director of Political Affairs

As part of our round-the-clock effort to keep GTLA members informed of the latest activity at the State Capitol, we are now filming weekly legislative video updates.  

We recognize that you are busy and may often be flooded with emails on a daily basis.  That's why we are offering a fun, alternate way to learn about legislation that affects plaintiffs' attorneys and your clients.

You will find the weekly legislative update every Friday on the GTLA website and the GTLA Facebook page.

You can also find it along with more than 20 other videos highlighting the work of GTLA and our members on  the GeorgiaTrialLawyers YouTube channel.

We'd like to express our appreciation to GTLA Grassroots Director Micah Gravley for his technical expertise and creativity in compiling and editing these videos.

If you have a video of a GTLA event that you'd like to share with us or an upcoming event that you'd like taped, please email me.  

Jill Johnson
Communications Director

On Thursday, February 16th, members of the Cobb TLA and friends gathered in Marietta to honor state legislators at the 2012 Cobb TLA Legislative Reception.

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to Randy Rogers, Aaron Strimban and the members of the Cobb TLA for making the event a tremendous success.  We would also like to express GTLA's genuine appreciation for our 2012 event sponsors: Vinings Bank, Forge Consulting LLC and ML Healthcare. 

This year's event was a great opportunity for our Cobb members to meet and greet with legislators from the Cobb delegation along with our sponsors, members of the business community, and candidates for state and local offices.  Our legislative guests included Senators Doug Stoner and Steve Thompson and Representatives David Wilkerson, Terry Johnson, Sam Teasley, Ed Setzler, Matt Dollar and John Carson. More than 60 guests were in attendance.

Micah Gravley
GTLA Grassroots Director


Join friends, colleagues, and legislators at the State Capitol on Wednesday, February 29th for an Ice Cream Social hosted by Macon TLA, GTLA and Bruster's Ice Cream as part of Macon Day festivities.  

The ice cream social begins at 2 p.m. in Room 216 of the Capitol.

Please RSVP to Micah Gravley.

On January 25th, the Civil Justice PAC hosted a successful annual Legislative Reception for Civil Justice PAC Champions and PAC-supported legislators. Thank you to our fantastic hosts Darren and Sandi Penn for opening their home to us for the event. To view photos from the event, visit the GTLA Facebook page.  

Thank You to Our Newest GTLA Champion Members!
Jody Peterman & Jim Roth

Welcome New GTLA Members!
Maha Amircani, Renay Bloom Montreuil, Stephen David Brown, Michael Coker, Dustin Eugene Davies, Keith Foster, Mitchell McGough, Jody Donald Peterman, Maranda Potter, Karen Robertson, Misty L. Wade, Michael Wiseman

Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, Inc.
Empire Settlement Funding
Donovan Reporting PC
Fast Funds, Inc.

Founded in 1956, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Georgia’s civil justice system and protecting the rights of Georgia citizens and consumers.

GTLA works in the legislative, political and media arenas to ensure that Georgians know and understand the importance of their rights to justice and to make certain that these rights, which are at the very core of what it means to be American, are safeguarded and protected.

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
101 Marietta Street, NW
Suite 3350, Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone (404) 522-8487 | Fax (404) 522-3705

We would appreciate your comments or suggestions. Your email will be kept private and confidential.